Oh, the great white north! Canada is wonderful and all you hear about: nice people, cold and safe. It is a great destination for solo travelers and families, but it could be expensive.
Vernon is a small city on the south-central interior in the province of British Columbia (BC). It is 5+ hours from Vancouver and around the same distance to Calgary, Alberta across the Rocky Mountains. You can fly with WestJet airlines or AirCanada to Kelowna city airport; 45 min to 1 hrs drive to Vernon. Do the drive during the day, especially during the summer, the highway goes around Kalamalka lake.
The main attraction in winter around Vernon is Silver Star Mountain Resort. It has dozens of runs for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. A new gondola and several chair lifts plus group and private lessons. There is a variety of restaurants and cafes; food prices are comparable to the rest of Canada. A few retail stores and bars. Rental equipment (skiis) is around $52 CAD a day (December 2019) plus the day pass to access the hill. You could easily spend $150 CAD a day on the rental equipment, day pass and lunch. Accommodation is another big expense. Staying in the city of Vernon, 30+ minutes from the hill, could save you some money but then you have to worry about transportation to and from the mountain if you don’t have a vehicle. Hitchhike anyone?
If you are not the skiing type, there are options of skating around the resort or snowshoeing, just make sure you bring snacks and drinks with you. Bears should be hibernating during the winter but you could see foxes around.
The scenery is breathtaking. From the top, you can see the wide range of mountains. White snow covering far and wide. On a clear day, you can see the city of Vernon in the distance plus Kalamalka lake and Okanagan lake. You won’t regret visiting Vernon, you must likely want to go back.
What a pleasant experience! Vernon is also located in a desert area within BC. Desert? In Canada? Oh yes! Is not the Sahara with sand dunes and camels, but it is hot hot hot during the summer with temperatures reaching over 30 degrees Celsius. Lay down near the lake and take a dip in the fresh water (water temperature is around 21 Celsius) before you get too hot!
So many trails around Silver Star Mountain and the city of Vernon; excellent choice for hiking lovers. Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park is a must do. The main trail ends at the north edge of the lake. You can relax, take a swim, eat and read before turning back. Be prepared to see lots of mountain bikers and horseback ridders. There are several places where you can camp in Kalamalka Lake or the Okanagan lake, including campgrounds or airbnbs.
Here are a few additional photos of Vernon City and around. Make sure you consider BC for your next travel adventure!